Le Grillon • The Cricket
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The English version presented below is a literal, word-for-word translation. It attempts to preserve the poet's word order as far as possible, for a better appreciation of the composer's musical treatment of individual words and phrases.

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C'est l'heure où, las d'errer, l'insecte nègre revient de promenade et répare avec soin le désordre de son domaine. D'abord il ratisse ses étroites allées de sable. Il fait du bran de scie qu'il écarte au seuil de sa retraite. Il lime la racine de cette grande herbe propre à le harceler. Il se repose. Puis il remonte sa minuscule montre. A-t-il fini? Est-elle cassé? Il se repose encore un peu. Il rentre chez lui et ferme sa porte. Longtemps il tourne sa clef dans la serrure délicate. Et il écoute: Point d'alarme dehors. Mais il ne se trouve pas en sûreté. Et comme par une chaînette dont la poulie grince, il descend jusqu'au fond de la terre. On n'entend plus rien. Dans la campagne muette, les peupliers se dressent comme des doigts en l'air et désignent la lune.


Jules Renard


It is the hour when, weary with wandering, the black insect comes back from his stroll and carefully restores to order his domain. First he rakes his narrow sandy paths. He makes some sawdust which he spreads out over the threshold of his hideaway. He files down the root of the tall blade of grass which keeps irritating him. He takes a rest. Then he winds up his tiny watch. Has he finished? Is it broken? He rests again for a while. He returns home and closes his door. For a long time he turns the key in the delicate latch. And then he listens; there’s nothing alarming outside. But he does not feel safe. And, as if by means of a small chain through a squeaky pulley, he descends into the depths of the earth. There is no more sound. In the mute countryside, the poplars stand erect like fingers in the air, pointing toward the moon.


Recorded 16 March 2007